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This Mad Vocation

I am currently reading two books on the subject of writers and writing.  Joe Rosenblatt’s The Lunatic Muse, a book I believe should be on every Canadian Literature reading list, speaks to  how the poet is driven to kick open the doors of polite convention that they might admit and commune with their own demons and lay bare the dark side of the human condition, though it cost them their own sanity.  He says, “The lunatic muse can be perceived as a unique greenhouse for cultivating that dark side, with its habitues and other congruent twisted images.”

Madeleine L’Engle, in her book, A Circle of Quiet, acknowledges the inherent dangers of embarking on this mad vocation but says with a certain resignation, “We each have to say it, to say it our own way.  Not of our own will, but as it comes out through us.  Good or bad, great or little; that isn’t what human creation is about.  It is that we have to try; to put it down in pigment, or words, or musical notations, or we die.”

I went years without writing, and they were the darkest years of my life.  I agree – the honesty and self-confrontation writing demands can be dangerous to one’s mental health.  But not writing is death.

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  1. bev Garant
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    pab: You’ve created a wonderful web site. Good job. I am almost speechless and my admiration for you and your work accelerates.each time you let me pick through your thoughts. bev.

    • Penny-Anne
      Posted August 12, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your kind words, Bev! Much appreciated!

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